Fountain (2012) is based on an anatomical model of the inner ear and a weathered outdoor table. Meticulously carved in Opal Bianca marble at ten times the model’s original size, the ear is a complex and mysterious form, containing transparent resin casts of the ear drum and cochlear.
Appearing ordinary in comparison, the table is cast in bronze and left to oxidise to suggest a green plastic surface that has been bleached and weakened by the sun. The table acts as a symbolic support for the apparently unbalanced ear and continues Armanious’ playful investigation of the humble objects that keep art upright.
As its title suggests, the artist thinks of the work in terms of an archetypal fountain. Instead of running water Fountain evokes the idea of water, through its references to the fluid of the ear canal, the undulating contours of the marble, and the translucent resin shapes that sit like droplets of liquid trapped inside the ear.
Anna Davis, Curator
The MCA Sculpture Commission is an ongoing program of works commissioned for the Loti Smorgon Sculpture Terrace on Level 4. The Museum works with artists to realise new, temporary artworks that respond to this unique site overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Running Time: 6:18
Hany Armanious talks about his practice and his work Fountain 2012. Fountain was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, on the occasion of the opening of the new MCA, March 2012.
Artist’s Voice in 2012 was supported by the Copyright Agency Limited.
Anna, you went to bed at 7am last Thursday having spent the whole night supervising the installation of Hany Armanious’ commissioned sculpture on the MCA’s new rooftop Sculpture Terrace. Who else was present with you?
Hany Armanious, Will Colhoun from Big Kahuna Imagineering, Tony Mighell, MCA Head of Exhibition Services, Peter Woodford Smith, MCA Preparator, several workers from Gillespies Crane hire and the Watpac night foreman.
Liz Ann Macgregor, Peter Le Gras and Catriona Mordant were also present for most of the night watching the installation.
I believe the sculpture is rather heavy. Can you explain how it got up there?
Yes the work weighs several tonnes so the only way to get it up there was by crane. To do that the marble and resin components of the sculpture were placed in a purpose built steel cradle that was craned onto the Sculpture Terrace from Argyle street. The bronze part of the sculpture (which is much lighter than the marble part) was installed first using the MCA lifts.
And all went well? How long did the process take, from the moment the sculpture was lifted from Circular Quay to the moment it was in place on the Sculpture Terrace?
It all went really well but it took about 4.5 hours all up to install. The most difficult parts were attaching the steel cradle to the crane – because the sculpture is made predominantly of marble it is very susceptible to breakage so the crane guys had to be really careful attaching all the chains and they did a great job. The next difficult bit was fitting the two parts of the sculpture together – the marble component had to fit onto the bronze part of the sculpture and this took several hours with the sculpture hovering just millimetres off the floor of the terrace for what seemed like a really long time!
How far did it have to travel to get to the Museum?
The marble part travelled from Big Kahuna Imagineering’s workshop in Rozelle and the bronze component from Crawfords Art Foundry in Strathfield.
This is the first commission for the Sculpture Terrace. Was Hany given any particular instructions or did he have free reign?
Hany was given free reign to come up with the work and we just had to make sure we could make it happen
Why Hany Armanious?
I think Hany is one of the most interesting artists working in Australia today. His intriguing sculptures, which are often composed of almost exact replicas of ordinary objects, uncover the beauty in everyday things while also revealing mysterious connections between ‘the stuff’ that surrounds us in our day to day lives. This is Hany’s first outdoor sculpture commission and it’s really exciting to be able to present it at the MCA.
And finally, I know you can’t tell us much about the sculpture as it is to remain under wraps until the opening, but how does it look?
It looks absolutely fantastic – even better than I had imagined – you will just have to wait and see…
Kelly Stone, Public Relations Manager
Hany Armanious’s Fountain is the first work for the MCA Sculpture Series, an annual commission of ambitious new sculpture created for the terrace on the top level of the new wing of the MCA.